Our History

Aug. 24, 1947: Daisaku Ikeda Takes Faith

Commemorating 70 years since President Ikeda met his mentor Josei Toda, and received Gohonzon.

Seikyo Press.

What is a correct way of life?
What is a true patriot?
What is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?

On Aug. 14, 1947, Daisaku Ikeda attended his first Soka Gakkai discussion meeting, posing these questions to Josei Toda.

To learn more about
Aug. 24, 1947, including a timeline of SGI President Ikeda’s efforts over the last 70 years, see the August 2017 Living Buddhism.

Amid the ruins of a war-torn, defeated Japan, Daisaku, 19, was earnestly searching for a sound life philosophy and a mentor to guide him.

He was moved by Mr. Toda’s straightforward and honest responses. “When I think of our family, our country and our turbulent world, I want to eliminate all misery and suffering from the face of the earth,” he told Daisaku. “This is what the movement for kosen-rufu is all about. Will you join me?” (Oct. 16, 2009, World Tribune, p. 4).

As an expression of his gratitude to Mr. Toda, Daisaku recited an impromptu poem:

From whence do you come?
And where do you go?
The moon has set,
But the Sun has not yet risen.
In the chaos of darkness before the
Seeking the light,
I advance
To dispel the dark clouds from my
To find a great tree unbowed
  by the tempest
I emerge from the earth.

(The Human Revolution, p. 233)

Ten days later, on Aug. 24, 1947, Daisaku joined the Soka Gakkai and began practicing Nichiren Buddhism in earnest.

Though in poor health, he ceaselessly exerted himself to seek out and support Mr. Toda, who as general director was fighting to rebuild from scratch the Soka Gakkai, which at the time had roughly 500 members.

Postwar Japan, though, was characterized by economic uncertainty, and Mr. Toda’s businesses were beset with difficulties as well. To protect the Soka Gakkai, he resigned as general director on Aug. 24, 1950.

President Ikeda later recalled of that day: “Bewildered and perplexed, I asked Mr. Toda, ‘If you resign as general director, does that mean that the next general director will be my mentor?’ He said: ‘No. Though I cause you nothing but hardship, I am your mentor.’ This is an unforgettable scene from my life” (Feb. 10, 2006, World Tribune, p. 2).

Like many SGI members today, President Ikeda’s first introduction to the Soka Gakkai was a neighborhood discussion meeting.

Discussion meetings continue to serve as the driving force for the development of the SGI’s movement for world peace, based on the conviction that kosen-rufu begins with heart-to-heart dialogue.

This month marks 70 years since President Ikeda began his journey in faith by attending his first discussion meeting.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Daisaku Ikeda taking faith, the SGI-USA will focus its efforts on the following three points in the month of August:

1. Intro-to-Buddhism meetings on Aug. 14, 24 and 31

2. District discussion meetings led by the youth

3. Confirmation of youth attendance for district discussion meetings

(p. 7)